Lizzo title lyric repeated three times before make a girl go crazy / SAT 3-6-21 / British pop star who sang 2012's R.I.P. / Removes from the mound in baseball lingo / Main ingredient in curry dish kosha mangsho / What curly brackets denote in mathematics

Saturday, March 6, 2021

Constructor: Sid Sivakumar

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: RITA ORA (37A: British pop star who sang 2012's "R.I.P.") —

Rita Sahatçiu Ora (born Rita Sahatçiu; 26 November 1990) is a British singer, songwriter and actress. She rose to prominence in February 2012 when she featured on DJ Fresh's single "Hot Right Now", which reached number one in the UK. Her debut studio album, Ora, released in August 2012, debuted at number one in the United Kingdom. The album contained the UK number-one singles, "R.I.P." and "How We Do (Party)". Ora was the artist with the most number-one singles on the UK Singles Chart in 2012, with three singles reaching the top position.

Ora's second studio album, Phoenix, was released in November 2018. The lead single, "Your Song", reached the UK top ten, and the subsequent singles "Anywhere" and "Let You Love Me" reached the top five in the UK. "Let You Love Me" made Ora the first British female solo artist to have thirteen top ten songs in the United Kingdom. (wikipedia)

• • •

Not as juicy as yesterday's, but a solid effort nonetheless. And the difficulty felt like it was back up to normal Saturday levels this week, which is just fine. Friday is a dance, Saturday is a hike, both have their pleasures. I thought I was going to sail through this thing with all the giveaways up front. DAHL was a gimme, and from that I could infer DATA, and then DATA was cross-referenced with 12D: Actor Spiner, whom I also knew (well, I hesitated on BRETT v. BRENT, tbh, but let the record show I was leaning BRENT). But the puzzle began to fight back a little after that. I had no idea what "sci-fi clash" was at issue in 14A: Side opposite 41-Across in a sci-fi clash—I got ALIEN OK, but I was thinking the clash would be a specific one. "ALIEN vs. Predator" came to mind (it's got the "clash" right in the title!). But RACE was not a word I was expecting. Through RACE went BRAID (5D: Traditional feature of a Hindu bride), which I had as PLAIT (kind of correct!) but also TRAIN (like a bridal TRAIN ... that's a thing, right?). Also, having the "EA" and nothing else at 7D: Expansive (OCEANIC), I decided that a good answer to put there would be ONE-ACRE. As in "Behold my ONE-ACRE lawn!" to which you would reply, "My ... how expansive!" 

So things were kind of gummed up there in the north, but the problem was that they were worse when I tried to go down the west coast. HIGH HORSE, no problem, and same with OARS, but then nothing really seemed to work so I went back up top and just pushed on through to the NE and then down the E coast and around the grid. Here's a late snapshot of the grid where you can see I took a look at the western section, decided I wanted no part of it, and then reversed course to pursue my solving adventures in clockwise fashion:

You can see that I have HAIR as my [Curling target] (26D)—a tiny mistake that cost me dearly. Mistakes can be quite catastrophic when all the letters look plausible.. That's one instance where getting a cross (the "A"), actually did me more harm than good. But as I say, I was able to come all the way around the grid and then come at that same western section from underneath. You can see I threw POTATO BATTERY across the grid pretty easily there, which allowed me to make very quick work of the SW (as I had with the NE, those symmetrical 5x5 sections being by far the simplest things in the grid), which is where I finally finished. My only real beef with this puzzle is THE COLTS, which (unfortunately) happens to be right in the middle of the toughest section of the puzzle (for me), and a major contributor to that toughness. The definite article in team names is so ugly. So rough. And I know all the major sports teams; for the non-sports people (I see you), this type of thing must be maddening. You not only have to know all these teams, but also you just throw a random THE in front of their name, like they're THE Mob or "THE Bachelor?" Also, only in the bizarro world of sportsland could anyone conceive of Indianapolis as a place that is in the "South." But the issue here is the THE. And so the ugliest fill ended up in the toughest section, which is never a good combination. Ugliness should be easy to blow through, and solver struggle should be rewarded by cleanness and clarity. So that was blecch. But the rest, as I say, was more than sufficiently satisfying Saturday stuff.

  • 9D: First supermodel to produce her own posters and calendars (CAROL ALT) — I love the Return of ALT! And in full-name form. She used to be a very regular grid denizen—crosswordese, even—but then the keyboard and music-prefix meanings of ALT came into vogue and Carol went into semi-retirement from puzzles, making only the occasional appearance. But here, bam, back on the runway! 
  • 37A: British pop star who sang 2012's "R.I.P." (RITA ORA) — I got this pretty easily, and I'll tell you why—I don't know her music well at all, but when a name like RITA ORA appears on your radar, and your job is solving/talking about crosswords, you notice. Both name parts are made for the grid, and ORA, man, you have no idea how desperate crossworld was for a new ORA clue. You can only take so much [___ pro nobis], I tell ya. So when I learned her music was repeatedly chart-topping, I locked her name in my crossword vault. Today I learned that she and I share a birthday. She was born the day I turned 21. Trivia!
  • 15D: Certain school clique (NERDS) — Thank you for finally bringing NERDS into the 21st century. This whole concept of the NERDS as a coherent social group still feels very much like John Hughes fictional territory, but at least we are acknowledging that there's a self-selecting and even exclusionary social element to the category, and that NERDS are something other than just targets of bullies (esp. in this modern world, where the word "nerd" has lost so much of its derogatory meaning).
  • 10D: Page-previewing program (ADOBE READER) — Got ADOBE, couldn't make ACROBAT fit, and was briefly sad.
  • 21D: Literally, "my master" (RABBI) — this caused me way more trouble than it should have. Even after I had it down to RA--I, I was still looking something ... eastern? Something in the way of ROSHI (literally "old teacher," "old master" (Japanese)) or SWAMI or SENSEI or GURU or I dunno ... I was stuck in the wrong parts of the globe. Probably more embarrassing that it took me a while to come up with CABLE CAR, considering I was born in S.F. and those cars are an iconic part of my childhood (29A: Symbol of San Francisco). The real culprit in this section, though, is DISBAR, which had a tough "?" clue (27A: Keep off the court?). I thought of legal court, obviously, but given the "?" I had to think of all the courts. At one point I had the "D" and no-foolin' wrote in DRYMOP. As in, "How do you keep dust off the court?" "Well, you DRYMOP it, of course." Brilliant!
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Frantic Sloth 6:03 AM  

Oh, Sid, Sid, could you with the looky-loo clues?? And I was so excited when I saw the byline, too!
Oh, well...I'll forgive (but not forget) because I enjoyed the puzzle...a lot. This despite it being rather easy-peasy for the Saturdee.

Not gonna list all the "longs" and/or other fill that I liked because that is just repeating the puzzle, but I do have a question:
Is that Mr. POTATOBATTERY or Mrs. POTATOBATTERY? Or just POTATOBATTERYx? I can't keep up.

Nice to see @Z's eyeBROW made the grid. It was only a matter of time.

Didn't know "bedizen" and wondered if it was akin to bedazzle or someone who lives in bed. "I'm a bedizen! I have rights!" It's been answered, but my preference lies elsewhere. Big surprise.

***Don't Try to Change My Mind Alert***

"Stir-fry ingredient" had me entering SNowPEA because that's the actual answer. SNAPPEA is a lie. The end.

I bid you good day.


Unknown 6:42 AM  

Fun Saturday except i kept trying to come up with a way to fit "Alien vs. Predator" into the puzzle. My brain won't give up on things like this these days.

Conrad 6:46 AM  

Easy for me (for a Saturday), except for the NE. Didn't (and still don't) know RITA ORA, had forgotten about CAROL ALT and guessed tRENT instead of BRENT for Mr. Spiner. Couldn't figure out how in the world CARtS were energy sources. Then when I didn't get the happy music I focused on the A where Ms. Alt and Ms. Ora cross.

bocamp 7:08 AM  

Thank you @Sid; what a great Sat. puz. Lots of good stuff here. Very enjoyable trip. :)

Easy solve.

Nailed the NW and G.L.s; the rest was a bit slower but still fairly steady. Only decision was at the crossing of 9D/37A. Was unfamiliar with both the super model and pop star. "T" seemed to fit best, so, once again, a bit of luck.

I remember my childhood football hero, George Shaw, being drafted by THE Baltimore COLTS in '55, only to be permanently replaced by the great Johnny Unitas in '56, after suffering a leg injury. What a great combo Unitas and Raymond Berry were. The extra practice time those two put in is legend.

O Mio Babbino Caro ~ Maria Callas

yd pg -2

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Lewis 7:26 AM  

I want to work hard on my Saturday puzzle, and Sid, you put me to the test, where most squares filled in felt like victories. As I look at the grid now, I’m asking, “Where’s the junk? Where’s a single junk answer?” Nowhere.

Sid included seven NYT answer debuts, including the marvelous CORNY JOKE, HIDDEN TALENTS, I’M SUCH A JERK, and POTATO BATTERY. Plus wordplay-exemplar clues for RODEO, SNOGS, and BROW.

I am so impressed, but even more, I was handed an experience that checked all the boxes of crossword pleasure for me, and thank you for that, Sid. Your relative handful of NYT puzzles, sir, have already vaulted you into my sparse upper echelon of gridmasters. Hang around, please, for at least a long time!

Richard 7:50 AM  

Don’t understand tares being reduced to zero in a way. Please explain.

Snoble 8:06 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Snoble 8:26 AM  

I got stuck for awhile at 38A THECOLTS because I thought the abbreviation “A.F.C.” In the clue would call for an abbreviation in the answer. “K.C. Chiefs” fits and threw me off (they seem a just as south as Indy.) Never could guess the right combo for ORA / ALT. nut what a fun puzzle—love all the fresh answers.

TJS 8:26 AM  

Great Saturday challenge. Gave up on the NW, got "Rodin" crossing "adorn" and "rodeo" dragged "Carol Alt" from some forgotten memory vault and wiped ou the whole East side. Then the real work began, second cup of coffee, looking at the grid from a standing position (it sometimes works for me).

Phone call :" Did you finish the puzzle? Yep. So you got 44 across...Yep. God, I have nothing over there...It starts with a 6 letter vegetable...Okay, goodbye."

God, I miss those calls. "you don't know what you got till it's gone" indeed.
Enjoy the day, people.

Anonymous 8:30 AM  

Faster than yesterday, but not knowing the ALT RITA crossing, I had to do a run through the alphabet to finish.

@Richard 7:50: It's a verb form of the noun tare: to adjust (a scale on which an empty container has been placed) so as to reduce the displayed weight to zero.

Frayed Knot 8:30 AM  

Fun solve and loved the clues. Esp. enjoyed the clues for drip and delete key.

puzzlehoarder 8:33 AM  

Other than a slow start, in which I was skunked by the NW corner, this turned out to be a very easy Saturday solve.

The difficulty level turned on a dime as soon as I put in RODEO and SNOGS. From there it was a smooth clockwise romp to easily finish in the NW. The direction was forced by my one LATENT TALENTS/HIDDENTALENTS write over.

The smooth sailing turned out to be deliberate. At xwordinfo the constructor said he made a point of using only actual words in all the three letter slots. Between that and the green paint nature of some of the main entries he went a little too far. Even the cross referenced sci-fi clue that was part of the initial difficulty turned out to just be "ALIEN RACE vs HUMANS." When the last entry went in I had that "I've seen this movie before" feeling.

amyyanni 8:36 AM  

Had Steady instead of STEELY so suffered in the SE. Object to How ___ as a clue for ODD. Could be almost anything, e.g., now, sad, etc. Knew Rita Ora but needed most of the crosses for CAROL ALT. Thanks for the photo, Rex. It rang some faint bells. Enjoyed the CABLE CAR trundling eastward. SF is a favorite city. RIP Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Here's our stop, City Lights Books.

Teedmn 8:38 AM  

I was shocked to see my time come in at half my usual Saturday time and it wasn't as if the PPP was all in my wheelhouse. No idea on CAROL ALT or RITA ORA or what Kelly RIPA was up to in 2001 (or now, for that matter). DAHL was easy to guess with DATA in place but I never read (or heard of) those books. Maybe having DATA, BRENT and BROW in place was enough to ensure a smooth solve. And I always think of the doomed, creepy scientist in "Independence Day" when I think of Brent Spiner. What a NERD.

I don't feel so strange, hesitating on CABLE CAR when I had CAB_E___ in place, if Rex had the same problem but with less excuse. I wonder why Rice-a-Roni was considered a San Francisco treat? (That's the tagline I mentally hear when I envision a cable car). Turns out, it's where it was "invented" if you can call adding chicken soup mix to rice an invention.

SNow PEA before SNAP and that's about all I had as write-overs. Very smooth, Mr. Sivakumar, thanks.

RichardNM 8:46 AM  

@Barbara S. from yesterday: How prescient was your quotation from Laguna Pueblo writer Leslie Marmon Silko, as her kinswoman Deb Haaland (R., NM) is about to be confirmed as U.S. Secretary of the Interior (unless a sufficient number of Neanderthals -- Hi, Joe! - who don't care about saving the planet vote no). BTW, Deb is my Congresswoman.

(I note that there are other Richards on this blog, so henceforth I'll sign in as "RichardNM." Howzat?)

Unknown 8:47 AM  

Today's puzzle was a gift to nerds everywhere!
This clique should enjoy the ride . . . . .
I would echo everything Lewis said - this was a joy.

Z 8:54 AM  

Crossing past crosswordese CAROL ALT with future crosswordese RITA ORA can’t be a true natick, I guess, but it sure felt like one to me.

An ALIEN RACE v HUMANS science fiction tale is almost always some thinly veiled surrogate for the enemy de jour, with HUMANs representing America, or at least traditional western post enlightenment ideals. Slightly better is when the ALIEN RACE is a surrogate for some facet of human nature. In the best science fiction with ALIEN RACEs the ALIENness is explored. I’m thinking of The Faded Sun trilogy or The Word for World is Forest (with HUMANs in the serpent role). All a long way of saying that this particular cross-reference irked this lover of Science Fiction by reducing it to what easily turns into the worst tropes.

@Frantic - You beat to the Mr. or Mrs. question. I must protest, though. It is only my eyeBROW if it is arched!

Crack to clue STAB (let em take a crack/STAB at it) is typical Saturday 7th meaning in the dictionary word play. I approve. The BROW arched at the THE just like Rex’s. I think my actual solving sequence was something like “well, neither the COLTS (South, har) or the Titans fit and the Dolphins are in the East (well, at least they’re in the east and you do start to hear hints of a southern accent in southern Indiana) but who else is in the AFC South oh that must be GOAT and LASH... well F*&$ it is THE COLTS that is gawdawful.”


Anonymous 8:54 AM  

My fastest Saturday ever...and Rex admitting he struggled...a double win!

Flinque 8:55 AM  

Kind of obtuse, I backed into tares by the crosses. So they put your pound of turkey on the scale at the deli to calculate cost and first the scale is lowered to subtract the weight of the package so you only pay for the meat. That’s tare, so I just in a sense they are zeroing out the package weight.

Barbara S. 8:55 AM  

I LOVE having a Friday and Saturday that I can finish in reasonable time with no look-ups. And then I immediately think, “Oh, they must have been easy puzzles.” Well, whether they were easy or not, I’m going to enjoy my laurel leaves until they all blow away, which will probably happen sooner rather than later. I got off to a good start because I knew DAHL and the Star Trek answers and then, like Rex, I solved clockwise, ending in the SW. Write-overs: STrict for STEELY, SNowPEA for SNAPPEA (Hi, @Frantic), pOrk for GOAT. Great long answers: HIDDEN TALENTS, HIGH HORSE, IM SUCH A JERK, POTATO BATTERY. I once gave my cousin a clock that ran on lemon water – no conventional battery – you just had to keep the lemon water (which supplied the acid) topped up. It was cool.

Continuing in the sub-genre of Dog Poetry, which we began on Wednesday with James Merrill and “The Victor Dog”, I now offer this contribution by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, born Mar. 6, 1806.

Flush* or Faunus

You see this dog. It was but yesterday
I mused, forgetful of his presence here,
Till thought on thought drew downward tear on tear;
When from the pillow, where wet-cheeked I lay,
A head as hairy as Faunus, thrust its way
Right sudden against my face,—two golden-clear
Large eyes astonished mine,—a drooping ear
Did flap me on either cheek, to dry the spray!
I started first, as some Arcadian
Amazed by goatly god in twilight grove:
But as my bearded vision closelier ran
My tears off, I knew Flush, and rose above
Surprise and sadness; thanking the true Pan,
Who, by low creatures, leads to heights of love.

*Flush was EBB’s much loved cocker spaniel. In addition to being her Hairy Muse, he was also the inspiration for Virginia Woolf’s Flush: A Biography, published in 1933.

Bubbabythebay 8:56 AM  

All the curling clubs around here are closed during the lockdowns. But when they're open again the target will be the skip's BROOM. Some skips will LASH out if you miss it (thankfully, not mine).

Glen Laker 8:58 AM  

Tare is the weight of the container, which is removed from the total weight, so you only pay for the goods (not the packaging). For example, you buy potato salad at the deli, they’ll put the container on the scale, and then zero out the weight before putting in the salad. In the clue, “tares” is being used as a verb for reducing the weight to zero. Never mind, though, that no human (or member of an alien race) ever uses tare as a verb.

Chris Wendell 9:06 AM  

Good puzzle but crossing two names (RitaOra and Carol Alt) was a disaster for me since both were completely unknown to me. Otherwise actually pretty straight forward solve (though I had "I'm such an ass" at first).

kitshef 9:11 AM  

A crossword puzzle is always an opportunity to learn. Today I learned that Indianapolis, where THE COLTS play, is in the south.

More seriously, learned GLOMS and LASH (as clued). With everything else filled in I spent about a minute staring at that cross before guessing the L. I always though GLOM mean "stick", like GLOM onto - stick onto. Clearly, I have been wrong.

Birchbark 9:23 AM  

I'm reading an Ellis Peters mystery called "Brother Cadfael's Penance." It's one where Cadfael leaves the abbey to go to a peace conference between King Stephen and the Empress Maud. He usually rides a mule, but this time his friend the undersheriff Hugh Berengar loans him a HIGH HORSE. Everyone is polite enough to let him mount it unassisted, even though he's sixty years old and rather compact. I thought that was a nice detail.

I plan to smoke some GOAT today. I looked up the marinade for kosha mangsho: ginger garlic paste, turmeric, coriander, crushed red pepper, yogurt and salt. Granted it's a recipe for braising, and the other ingredients help define it. But the marinade will work here and I thank Mr. Sivakumar for prompting the thought.

Carola 9:24 AM  

Nicely resistant, right from the start, not least because quite a few of my STABs missed their mark, e.g.,"troi" instead of DATA and Bindi instead of BRAID, and "How saD!" and SNowPEA crossing the well-known (ha ha) Aria sPoRtS car - this from an OPERA fan! who had also forgotten about the CABLE CAR. Anyway, that snarl really cost me. Fortunately, the okay-erase-everything maneuver had the needed effect. Loved HIGH HORSE and CORNY JOKE. Help from previous puzzles: RITA ORA. No idea: CAROL ALT, POTATO BATTERY (assault on a tuber?).

mmorgan 9:27 AM  

Mostly pleasant for me except for throwing my hands up in the air for the celebrities/pop stars I knew not at all. CAROL ALT, Lizzo lyrics, RITA ORA all meant nothing to me and couldn’t get them from crosses in this case. My worst problem was having SNowPEA and refusing to take it out, even though I like snap peas much more. Oh well.

Blue Stater 9:30 AM  

Just brutal. Hardest puzzle I can remember. And no fun at all. I did not get *one* answer on my first jaunt through the puzzle. Nor did I get any subsequent answers without the help of one I had already looked up. I had the sense that there were a few of the stretchers with which WS artificially toughens up Friday and Saturday puzzles, but none of them unambiguously wrong.

pabloinnh 9:32 AM  

Some pop culture and computer stuff had me looking for a toehold, which finally arrived with ___JOKE, which begat JAB, then BOYS, although I didn't know the song, and away I rode madly in all directions. Stopped watching Star Trek after its first iteration, so I didn't know BRENT, so I, like some others, tried TRENT, This eventually led to _ARTS as "sources of energy", which amused me. "Expressions of energy", maybe, but not "sources". Eventually CAROLALT showed up to save the day.

SAHIB instead of RABBI (hey, at least there was a B) and RITAORA was a complete WTF, but I will follow OFL's advice and save that useful name for another time.

Thank goodness for Fridays and puzzles like @Lewis's gem yesterday to get your brain up into high gear to tackle Saturdays like today's. Really fun workout with some neat sideways cluing, for which many thanks, SS. Well done you.

Sixthstone 9:40 AM  

Somehow I turned in my fastest Saturday time ever. The puzzle seemed appropriately challenging but all my guesses fell into place. Even where I had no real idea (RITA ORA), I just kept plugging crosses until it clicked. Some really fun long answers and legitimately clever clues. Worth noting that there are only 6 three-letter answers and they are all actual common words (ASH, LET, WED, ODD, JAB, SET). No abbreviations, no random crosswordese--truly well done. In fact, I don't think there are any abbreviations at all in the puzzle. Wow--imagine a real crossWORD puzzle! Thanks Sid!

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 9:42 AM  

My first trip to Minneapolis I discovered that they consider everyplace I then had been was either The South or The East. Ohio was in The East, I'm sure Indiana was South. They certainly thought the Midwest did not start until right there at the Mississippi, and they thought nobody but them had a right to consider themselves northern. It was pretty pushy for such polite people. Where I am we consider, oh, Natick to be up north, and Springfield to be way out west.

Mike G 9:57 AM  

Overall pretty easy. On track for one of my best, but I got stuck for a bit on RITA ORA. I eventually guessed on CAROL ALT and RABBI fell into place because it was the only real answer that would fit, but ironically ADOBE READER was the issue for me. I do IT stuff for a living, and since the product name is actually ADOBE ACROBAT READER, my brain just froze on this one. Not unfair because Adobe internal docs refer to it as ADOBE READER, but... yeah.

Oh. Not a fan of 'THE' COLTS (or THE anything for that matter). But that's such a minor point in a very good puzzle.

RooMonster 9:59 AM  

Hey All !
Not only THE COLTS in AFC South, but THE Dallas Cowboys are in the NFC East! Wacky football conferences.

First pass through the Across clues yielded... absolutely nothing! Dang. Thought this was going to be a super tough SatPuz. But got 1D simply from being a semi-sci-fi-NERD. So was able to get 12D also. Did get a few Downs on first pass, even if STEadY was wrong (STEELY). But managed to get going, and finished in a decent time, with the ole brain still functioning!

Technically had help today, although I don't consider it a DNF. That west-middle section that caused Rex trouble was also my Huh? area. Had enSURES, and couldn't get off it. But wasn't jiving with the Downs. Couldn't get Reed out of my mind, even with __RS, didn't think of OARS. 🙄 Also couldn't get the LASH meaning of "curling" into my mind. Kept thinking either weightlifting or that Ice Sport. So went to a website that allows you to enter letters to a word, along with question marks for unknown letters (constructors might know which site I'm talking about), and saw ASSURES could be the answer. Et viola! Saw OARS, then GOAT, then LASH.

An overall nice themeless. Those "runtz" corners (like @M&A's mini-puzs, 5x5) are tough to fill cleanly, especially with a Long Down and a Long Across cutting through. Dang. Good job Sid. Many a hair was sacrificed filling in those corners-to-middles sections, I'm sure. Looking for some dreck, don't see any. @Lewis already pointed that out, but to have none is amazing. Ruins my theory of All puzs having dreck! 😁 Worst thing is THE of THE COLTS.

*Bows to Sid* "We're not worthy!" 😆

No F's (sad EMOJI)

bocamp 10:01 AM  

@Barbara S. 8:55 AM

Woof! 🐶

@Bubbabythebay 8:56 AM

My first image, as well. :) Hurry hard! 🥌

Have sugar SNAP PEAs on veggie platter every evening. 😋

td pg - 2

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Gilbert 10:01 AM  

CAROLALT must be a big hockey fan. Was married to THE Rangers’ Ron Greschner, then had a thing going on with some guy on the Islanders.

biochemRhapsody 10:04 AM  

TARE as a verb is common in biology/chemistry. Any time I weighed out chemicals I had to TARE the balance first

Anonymous 10:08 AM  

since there appears to be no clue as to People clues being full name, first name, surname I got stuck with crawford, as in Cindy. biggly DNF.

Kyle 10:09 AM  

Kudos to Rex for the line, “ I decided that a good answer to put there would be ONE-ACRE. As in "Behold my ONE-ACRE lawn!" to which you would reply, "My ... how expansive!"

Made me actually LOL

Oh, and the puzzle was nice too :)

CreamyT 10:16 AM  

Same issue, same reason! I believe the application used to read as "Adobe Reader" at some point if you brought it up on a start menu, though I could be wrong. Regardless, the application is definitely "Adobe Acrobat Reader." But it's both colloquially known as Adobe Reader, and as you said, is sometimes referred to it as such by Adobe themselves.

A 10:20 AM  

Right off the bat with the Star Trek clues, thank goodness! Sorry, @Nancy! I was holding my breath as I looked from 1D over to 12D for the actor, because I had about a 50-50 chance of knowing who it was. I only know the original series and “Next Generation” but not much after. Who will it be? Cha-ching! It’s good old BRENT Spiner as DATA! Let the puzzle begin.

After that much the same as Rex, except I had GOAT so I knew hair wouldn’t fit. Target that LASH. Tried typing HIGH ground and ran out of space. I did not know the model or the singer, so that cross was the last to fall. With RI_AORA, I was looking for a one-named Brit pop star, wondering if she could be Rimaora or Riyaora?Eventually the ‘doh’ moment arrived.

@Frantic, you took the words right out of my mouth! Bed denizen, of course. And I took out SNow PEA under duress.

Very imaginative and almost no junk. Nice work, Mr. Sivakumar.

mathgent 10:29 AM  

CAROLALT crossing RITAORA. Poster children for the Natick Foundation. Rex says that ALT has been here often but I don't remember her.

I suppose some people use SNAPPEAs in their stir fry but the bag of frozen stir fry vegetables I buy has snow peas. Thinner shell, I understand.

Not easy for me. Enjoyed fighting my way through it.

Where have I seen "bedizen" before? In a poem?

"What takes all types?" for DELETEKEY. Clumsy attempt to be clever.

golfballman 10:31 AM  

If you google kosha mangsho it says its made with mutton which is sheep. Lousy editing Will

Anonymous 10:31 AM  

As to THE COLTS being AFC South: Indiana is at least as Red as Mississippi, so yeah, South.

Anonymous 10:33 AM  

when was the last time you had a stir fry with just one SNAP PEA? so, of course, the answer had to be ___PEAS, but what kind? never did figure that out.

Nancy 10:34 AM  

My HIDDEN TALENTS do not include crossing the unknown-to-me CAROL ALT with the equally unknown-to-me RITA ORA. Nor do they include knowing that DATA is a "Star Trek" character. As you know, I am equally oblivious to both Star Trek" characters and "Star War" characters. All the other pop culture answers were equally *don't know/don't care* to me: BRENT and TESS and BOYS, as clued.

DATA and BOYS are such ordinary words. Why on earth would you clue them with pop culture clues when you don't have to?

I managed (just!) to not throw this against the wall. And I managed not to cheat either, my biggest temptation being to look up what "bedizen" means. But the whole time I felt like a member of an ALIEN RACE -- especially in the NE corner. I've heard of an ADOBE READER but have no idea what it is or what it does. I certainly didn't recognize it as clued.

POTATO BATTERY??!! Well, I took the least amount of science I could get away with in my academic career, so perhaps I should have known it. Or maybe it's a new way of teaching that didn't exist back then. Exactly what it's teaching (Physics? Chemistry?) I have no idea.

Didn't much like the clue for STEELY and hated "___slip" for LET. I think both RODEO and DELETE KEY trade fairness and accuracy for cleverness. The best clue/answers for me were HIGH HORSE; TAG TEAMED; SNOGS and DAYS.

I suppose that after yesterday's blissfully PPP-free puzzle, this PPP-laden one was perhaps inevitable. I pray we're not in for a week of PPP-prone puzzles, though I do know that at least one day next week won't be.

JC66 10:42 AM  

The reason THE COLTS are in the AFC South is because they where originally located in Baltimore. An original NFL team they became part of the AFC as a result of the merger of the NFL and AFL in 1970. They moved to Indianapolis from Baltimore in 1984.

sixtyni yogini 10:43 AM  

Being Saturday, I assumed BNDI had to be the traditional feature of a Hindu bride. 😏 (imho there are better Saturday clues for braid.)
Hard puzz for me, but liked it when things started to roll.

Axel 10:44 AM  

Did no one have an issue with 31D ("Like most of Mars"). Exactly which part is not arid?

Crimson Devil 10:52 AM  

As a redblooded adolescent SI subscriber, I enjoyed CAROL ALT.
Started with RIPA & RAMPED, DISBAR, but had Sahib way too long. A worthy Sat.

Whatsername 10:52 AM  

Pretty darn good Saturday. I learned a new word in SNOGS which sounds like some humiliating punishment a snooty school clique might inflict on a group of NERDS. Like a public wedgie or worse. Very impressed with the debut answers. 3D/49A had me wondering what kind of fuel WEAT was until I finally dug myself out of the pile of SNOW PEAs to see they were the SNAP variety, both tasty nutritious sources of CARBS.

At first glance, I just knew that 38A had to be DOLPHINS but then quickly saw that wasn’t going to work. How ODD to have Miami in the East and Indy in the South. But then that’s nothing compared to the mishmash of the NCAA tournament and the TEAM matchups sometimes seen THERE. Maybe that’s why they call it March Madness.

GHarris 10:52 AM  

Disbar(ment) would keep lawyers out of court. Keeping someone off the court would refer to judges. Yes, I know disbarment would also keep a lawyer from becoming a judge but that would be secondary.
@Nancy I infer that you have a puzzle coming. I look forward to solving it.

Mike G 10:56 AM  

Shout out to my fellow techie!

Crimson Devil 10:57 AM  

We’ll see....Are PERSEVERANCE and helicopter INGENUITY cool or what ?!!

kitshef 11:04 AM  

Until I read @RooMonster's post I had assumed that LASH was a term from "that ice sport". Now I get it, and it is clever.

Nancy 11:04 AM  

@Barbara S -- Lovely, lovely poem! Perhaps my favorite entry of all the quotable, well-written and interestingly varied passages you've posted. I almost shed a tear myself at certain lines.

There's a part of me that wants to send it to James Merrill, along with a note that says: "Look!! Watch!! Here's how it's done!!" :)

CreamyT 11:06 AM  

The first Saturday puzzle my wife and I have ever gotten without having to do a puzzle check, a lookup to verify anything, or even redoing a square after filling in the last one. It felt great! 50 minutes for us is good for a Saturday too, so it was great to finish it and find it as being "Medium" by Rex.

I really enjoyed it overall. I thought the cluing was fantastic. A lot of just-barely-vague clues with answers that weren't obscure, but tricky to come up with. The long acrosses were a bit on the easy side - we got both either without on or with only a few crossing answers. But I'm fine with that, as it still felt difficult for us to fill in the rest.

Issues were similar to others. I mentioned above, but ADOBE READER is actually ADOBE ACROBAT READER. You can verify this if you have it installed by searching for it on the Start Menu in Windows. However, a bigger problem to me - page "previewer?" It's a page *viewer*. It opens a PDF and renders it. How is it previewing anything? I know that messes up the alliteration, but at least it's correct. It's literally showing you the document.

NE corner was quite problematic. 9, 10, 11, 12, and 13 down were ALL pronouns. Every. Single. One. Maybe "snogs" isn't, but I have no clue what that is, and it's related to a specific place. The only one I was familiar with was the aforementioned and questionably clued ADOBEREADER. Luckily the acrosses weren't bad. Still - not fun. Even after filling in answers, no idea what SNOGS are, no clue about CAROLALT, RODIN I was familiar with but not

Also, ALIENRACE was bad. HUMANS "clashing" with ALIENRACE? It's just ugly. It's weird to mix those up, since they're both races.

Despite these gripes, had fun filling it out.

Astro Nut 11:20 AM  

The canals.

jae 11:24 AM  


Did not know RIPA has been around since 2001.

Realized the D in A.D.A can stand for both Dental and Disabilities.

STEadY and STEELY are pretty close.

OMAHA was a gimme because I just watch “One Night in Miami”.

Crunchy fun, liked it a bunch!

Unknown 11:27 AM  

Alcatraz has the same number of letters as cable car. Tripped me up big time.

Bax'N'Nex 11:29 AM  

Of course one says “THE COLTS”.

“Who’s playing today?”
“Raiders are playing Colts” “The Raiders are playing THE COLTS”...(and beating them, BTW)

Happy Weekend, all.

oceanjeremy 11:32 AM  

My fiancée and I, as per usual, TAG TEAMED today’s puzzle (we solve solo Monday through Friday, and solve together on weekends). We finished today and I said, “Did we just set a personal record for our Saturday?” And she replied, “That felt too easy for a Saturday. I wonder what Rex has to say about it.”

So I read Rex’s post aloud to her (another part of our weekend crossword ritual) and we were both a little surprised at his assignment of “Medium” for Relative Difficulty.

I do solve seven to ten NYTXW puzzles a week, voraciously tearing my way backward through the archives, but it’s hard to compare my solo experience on an iPhone solving Saturdays of years ago (which are typically harder anyway) against solving pen-and-paper with my fiancée (who is a more competent solver than myself). I still maintain this one was Very Easy.

We nailed both of the longest answers without crosses. She got HIDDEN TALENTS and I got POTATO BATTERY. There was almost no resistance on any part of the grid. I got DISBAR without any crosses. RABBI with just the B from DISBAR. We were both looking at 18A and my brain was looking for some kind of cattle-themed connection with “brand recognition” when she said “RODEO!”

As an aside, I *am* wearing a red bandana around my neck with “Winston Rodeo Series” printed on it, the “Rodeo Series” being a spelled out in cursive with a length of rope. If I recall correctly my parents bought me this bandana when they took me to the rodeo at the age of 6 or 7.

All in all it was a *very* enjoyable solve, not least because everything I do with my fiancée is ten times more enjoyable. I am happy that today’s was easy and we raced through it, as we have to leave to meet several realtors on the other side of Brooklyn from us (we are in Queens).

We are apartment hunting. In New York City. Your sympathy — and even pity — is appreciated.

Douglas 11:34 AM  

@Nancy. Pop culture clues exist in every single puzzle and are often what makes them interesting. Would you rather have had the clues read “the opposite of girls”? Or “Computer____”? Star Wars, Star Trek, and Harry Potter are some of the most popular movies , TV shows, and books of all time. Definitely fair game and usually somewhat easy for a crossword puzzle.

L E Case 11:34 AM  

Your review was crying out for Kacey Musgrave's excellent song, "High Horse"!

Anonymous 11:42 AM  

the wiki, once again:
Almost all water on Mars today exists as ice, though it also exists in small quantities as vapor in the atmosphere.

GILL I. 11:43 AM  

Now I know why people fall off a HIGH HORSE. Not only was my horse high, it bit me in the arse.
My first "slap my brain" was confidently penning in BINDI for the Hindu bride wear. I was so proud of my mistake. Then I got to that old conundrum thing....Should I really know a pop star and her RIP? Where Malcom X was born? A person named Lizzo? The only supermodel I knew of was Jean Shrimpton and that's because I had my seamstress make me copies of her jumpsuits
GLOMS means to steal? Sounds like the noise a frog makes when mating. Don't even get me started with a POTATO BATTERY. Who does that? Does it eventually become a French Fry? Did any other sane person have IM SUCH AN ASS. No? Just this JERK?
I'm happy for those that found this easy. I had to Google all the damn names and I also want to know if anyone says ROBING.....Before we commence, we will all start ROBING.
The only GOAT I eat has cheese in front of it. Good luck @Birchbark with your marinade. Sounds pretty good.

Newboy 11:44 AM  

Love me a Saturday Syd. Not up on British pop stars and supermodels, so final letter of the nine down and 37 across was an absolute Natick in Idaho. Was at least pleased to see Rex’s word of the day instructional panel to make my world view compliant with reality. A tossup today as to 40A or 57A was my favorite clue. Only four 3-letter fillers clued with a measly five words....truly grate stuff indeed!

Whatsername 11:46 AM  

@golfballman (10:31) I’m certainly no expert on kosha mangsho since I’d never even heard of it until today, but I believe that at least in some parts of the world, GOAT meat is considered to be mutton.

@Nancy (10:34) Sounds like you have a secret you’re not telling us. I hope so anyway.

Masked and Anonymous 11:59 AM  

M&A started feelin this sci-fi puztheme vibe early in the solvequest [see: DATA, ALIENRACE clues], but it quickly turned into a POTATOBATTERY.

Wiped out on CAROLALT/RITAORA. Guessed M where the T was. No bonus points, for the masked dude.
staff weeject pick: Only 6 of the cute lil candidates available, and they are all fine and upstandin puzcitizens. But M&A's gonna go with SET, on account of its primo "math class lives today" clue.

Speakin of clues, this puppy had six ?-marker clues -- a mark of serious feistiness. DELETEKEY clue was an almost-phrased-by-wolves fave, at our house.

@Roo: Sure am sorry about that F-count, today. Most runtpuzs are 7x7, btw. (5x5 always seemed too small, to sneak a cool puztheme into.)
@AnoaBob: Check out the perfect right/bottom-edge POC-symmetry! Keg party!

Thanx for an invigoratin SatPuz RODEO, Mr. Sivakumar dude. But U ain't a debut constructioneer, so this puts the count at 4/6 debuts, for the week, I think.

Masked & AnonymoUUs


Anonymous 12:04 PM  

So much fail regarding the Colts. First, and most important, it is most certainly the Colts. Bax’N’Nex sums it up succinctly.
The only time the definite article is removed from NFL teams ( and I suspect all sports apply) is when multiple teams are invoked. Ofer in a fairly long series. E.g., Someone asks what are the good games this week. The response might sound something like: Rams- Seahawks, Chiefs-Ravens and Bucs-Saints. However if the discussion continued each team’s definite article would be included. E.g., the Bucs have Brady but the Saints Defense is underrated. Or the Colts made a mistake trading for Wentz.

As for JC 66’z bizarre explanation. Huh? First, the Colts were mot an original NFL team. The NFL started in 1920. The Colts were created nearly three decades later. Further, they were born not as an NFL team but rather an All American Football Conference team. So, no one could ever mistake them for an original NFL team.
By the time the American Football League merged with the National Football League in 1970, the Colts were indeed an NFL team (The AAFC had long since folded, and the Colts, Browns and 49ers had been admitted to the NFL).
the Colts agreed to go to the new AFC— the name of the conference for the group of teams mostly comprised of former AFL franchises, for money. $3 million. A lot of money for the Irsay family who owned the Colts. The Browns and the Steelers also took the cheese. And for the same reason. Dough.
But none of that explains how the Colts, who moved from Baltimore to Indianapolis in 1984, are in the AFC South. And the real reason for that, is, wait for it... money. In 2002 the NFL reorganized divisions to accommodate a new team, The Houston Texans. The AFC South is actually fairly reasonable geographically. The Colts are the only team in it not below The Mason Dixon line. They’re also a small market and never had the pull—-or the rivalries— that other teams did. So the NFL moved them to the new division, instead of say, the Dolphins, because no one in Indy cared, the Dolphins, the more geographically reasonable choice DID care. They needed all the help they could get with ticket sales. And remaining in the same division with the Jets and the Bills—both long time rivals going back to the days of the AFL was seen as important, both to the team and internally within the League.

This is all as naturally occurring as gravity. Or capitalism.

Todd 12:09 PM  

Finished in good time for me. Biggest problem was putting in secret ability. When became hidden ability which finally became the correct answer.

Matt 12:15 PM  

I'm with Axel. Either all of Mars is ARID, or none of it; "most" implies there's some liquid water, since aridity is the state of having little to no rainfall. Unless it's the more figurative use of ARID, in which case (a) I object to the editorial suggestion that Mars is dull, or (b) I want to see these lively hotspots of Mars that are not ARID - perhaps an alien cantina, or an artist's colony?

Anoa Bob 12:17 PM  

I had no chance finishing this one, what with a British pop star crossing a supermodel in the upper right. Evidence of a misspent old age, no doubt.

This was a real treat, however, for someone who keeps tabs on the use of the plural of convenience POC to assist in filling the grid. Especially helpful in this regard is the two-for-one POC, where a Down and an Across share a final S. That final S typically can be changed to a black square, the clue slightly tweaked, and nothing of interest or value will be lost.

This gird takes the all-time grand prize for using the two-for-one POC, coming in with six(!) of those super grid-fill helpers. That is far and away the most I recall ever seeing in one grid. And it was almost seven, given the BOYS meeting TESS in the lower right. So the ostensible black square count of 31 becomes a virtual black square count of 37 and while the latter is respectable for a themeless, the latter isn't.

For those keeping track at home, the first two-for-one POC occurs at the end of 13 Down and 22 Across. Can you find the other five? Remember that a POC is a crossword term, not a grammatical one, and means adding an S (or an ES or dropping a Y and adding an IES) to an entry to boost its letter-count, making it easier to fill the grid.

Hey, I guess all those plurals make up for only getting one SNAP PEA in the stir fry ingredients.

JC66 12:24 PM  

@Anon 12:04

Thanks, I stand corrected.

jb129 12:24 PM  

Much harder (for me) than yesterday which I stuck with & finished.

Not so today but I put up a good fight.

Anonymous 12:27 PM  

I'm not trying to cause any trouble but I'm wondering how a having a partner and Googling are any different when it comes to claiming a solve.

Karen 12:28 PM  

It’s a very curious discussion, deciding which proper names are acceptable to include in an NYT puzzle. Sure, we don’t want it to stoop to the level of TV Guide, but if you read the NYT, if you keep up with current events, watch the news… These things are just there. I don’t listen to pop music, I don’t know any Rita Ora songs, but I definitely know who she is. She’s a huge star. This discussion has me wondering, how her name is so easily recognizable to me. I don’t listen to that genre of music and I don’t know her songs, but I know who she is. She’s a huge star.

Most of the names and references people grumble about are very often printed in the Times. (Epic Greek poets, Biblical figures, and 19th century royalty are not, but they seem less likely to be railed against?)

If only I read the sports pages with any regularity, then I’d really be able to gain some traction with my puzzle stats....

Anonymous 12:37 PM  

This is all as naturally occurring as gravity. Or capitalism.

This is all as naturally occurring as gravity. Or cronyism.

and some folks consider the Real NFL to start at the time in absorbed The AAFC.

in the NHL, the Northeast and Canadian teams (some of them) are called the Original Six, but, of course, the NHL existed long before those 6 settled in as the 'only' NHL teams, the league having lost teams during the Great Depression. these days, Canadians are below 50%, and one might argue that of the top players, Canada's share continues to be eroded by Europeans; and USofA a bit.

of the top 50 players, 21 are identified as Canadian (a few don't show birth country for some reason).

one might wonder whether Canadians feel the same angst that certain Americans have felt about baseball being stolen from Real Americans by black and Latinx players?

Anonymous 12:44 PM  

Gracious of you but utterly unnecessary. As I noted, this is all part of the natural order. Like the arc of history bending toward justice. Or capitalism. It always existed, it just took an apple falling on Paul Tagliabue’s noggin for it to be revealed.

Anonymous 12:49 PM  

Anonymous 12:37,
I’m sorry, I don’t speak gibberish. When you have your post translated into a terrestrial,language, please let me know.

Anon 12:04

Tom T 12:50 PM  

This Friday/Saturday have me feeling like I've been doing the NYTXW daily for long enough (over a year) to begin hitting a bit of a stride. Did yesterday and today in close to fastest times (though I don't try to speed solve, I do like to compare my time each day to my best time).

The big break early on for me today was 7D: Expansive. Normally, I would have struggled mightily with that, but then I thought, "I've seen several times the use of ocean for expanse--perhaps Expansive is OCEANIC!" And I was off and running. Didn't know the Star Trek or model or Brit singer, but got close enough with crosses and made good guesses.

Also not fond of THE COLTS. But placing them in the South is not the worst sports team geographic assignment of all time. My nominee for that award is the Atlanta Braves, who for many years played in the National League WEST(!) with Los Angeles and San Francisco. A road game from ATL to SF is one long CABLE CAR ride.

Nancy 12:55 PM  

@Douglas (11:34) -- Why do you assume that the non-pop-culture clues I'd give as an alternative for DATA and BOYS would be boring, mindless slam-dunks!

For DATA, I might try "Figures, e.g."

For BOYS (this is harder), I might try something like: "Their arrival often leads to the passing out of cigars."

My objection to pop culture clues is the whole *You-either-know-it-or-you-don't* problem. If you don't know it, you're stuck. If you do, you're not at all challenged. But in either case, there isn't anything for the solver to "puzzle out".

Anonymous 1:16 PM  

The Braves in the NL West was bad, but I’d say the Arizona Cardinals is the NFC East was at least as bad. I say worse. It was remedied by the realignment that put the Colts in the AFC South. The Cards were never rivals with any of the other teams in the NFC East . The Braves, owing to their start in Boston, did have some rivalries with the Giants ( from their long history in NY and the Dodgers, ditto) so the West (barely) had some claim. That is not, of course, why MLB stuck them out there, but....

Fun fact regarding Carol Alt. She was with her hubby at the 1995 Sports Emmy awards. She was so beautiful, it was embarrassing to look at her directly. Her spouse, Ron Greschner, who played for one of the NHL’s original six, was less impressed with his wife’s comeliness. His gaze was on a colleague of mine all night.

Whatsername 1:22 PM  

@Anon (12:04) Thanks for the extensive background on how THE COLTS came to be part of the AFC South. I’ve been trying to figure out why a team that moved from Baltimore to Indianapolis ended up there. Makes perfect sense now.

Masked and Anonymous 1:23 PM  

On the "mostly arid" Mars discussion waterfront:

"The planet Mars has two permanent polar ice caps. The caps at both poles consist primarily of water ice. Frozen carbon dioxide accumulates as a comparatively thin layer about one meter thick on the north cap in the northern winter, while the south cap has a permanent dry ice cover about 8 m thick.

In July 2018, Italian scientists reported the discovery of a subglacial lake on Mars, 1.5 km below the surface of the southern polar layered deposits, and about 20 km across, the first known stable body of water on the planet."

Sooo … there's that. I believe them Wikipedia "Martian polar ice caps" quotes was from BBC News. Or maybe from Lizzo. Kinda hard to sort that part all out.

M&A Help Desk

addisondewitt 1:34 PM  

Never heard of the word TARES and couldn’t remember if it was PEAT or PEET so I went with PEET. Fortunately, if I can find the error myself without hitting “check square” or the like, the app gives me credit for completing the puzzle without assistance.

Anonymous 1:51 PM  

De nada. It appears you’re a loyal subject of Tne Chiefs’s Kingdom.
I highly recommend you check out a piece from NFL Films about an interesting corner of the kingdom. I’m incredibly chagrined to say I don’t know the official title, but a google serarch of Return to Big Charlie’s should get it for you.
It’s an episode of NFL Films Prsents which airs on Fox Sports 1.
You’ll like it a lot. Assuming you can find it. Original air date was sometime in the Fall of 2020.

Frantic Sloth 2:05 PM  

@amyyanni 836am Agree with you on the "How__" clue. I had saD (Hi, @Carola!). Explanation: unnecessary.

@Teedmn 838am Wasn't a year's supply of Rice-a-Roni the go-to consolation prize on 60s game shows? Or is that just in my head?

@RichardNM 846am Well, I for one, am grateful for your attention to detail and others' possible confusion. Some of us need all the help we can get.

@Z 854am Shame about POTATOBATTERY. Most likely I would have preferred your take. But it's not easy to beat my cat-like mental reflexes, so you hadn't a chance, really.
OTOH, I'll gladly cede to you all things SciFi genre. 😉

@Barbara S 855am Loving the doggie stylings this week. (Sorry, couldn't resist) My only high art contribution would be "Dogs Playing Poker" and they deserve better. 🐕

@bocamp 1001am I knew I remembered you mentioning you do/did curling! Love the link!

@A 1020am "Bed denizen" makes much more sense than "citizen/bedizen", which is where I stopped. Let it never be said that I think too much.

@Lewis Finally got around to reading yesterday's comments where @Z linked to your wonderful WaPo puzzle. I just wanted to add my voice to the others in appreciation for a truly fun ride with some crunch and humor, while still solvable for the likes of me. Bravo!

@golfballman 1031am Your mutton comment reminded me of this...naturally. 😉

@Nancy Is @GHarris 1052am correct?? If so, fingers crossed - I love your puzzles!

@oceanjeremy 1132am Good lord! I'll say some prayers for you and your fiancée during that dastardly endeavor. Apartment hunting in NYC is the 9th circle of hell.

***Just My Two Cents Alert***

And not only did THE COLTS move from Baltimore to Indianapolis, they did it under cover of night. Rather a scandal, that.

***Meal Fail Alert***

@pabloinnh 932am Your energy source detour reminded me of how my elderly father (now dearly departed) seemed to power himself from one room to another. It was truly a HIDDENTALENT to behold.

Julie 2:12 PM  

So if you’re really clueless about sports, as am I, the Colts being southern conference doesn’t throw you at all because you have no idea where the colts reside. More Star Trek!

sanfranman59 2:15 PM  

Easy-Medium NYT Saturday ... 20% below my Saturday 6-month median solve time

I thought this was a nice solid puzzle. The clues exercised my brain and that's what I want in tough-ish puzzles. I'm having another near-record solve time week. I'm think I'm due for a comeuppance sometime soon.

Sports is one of my strong suits and particularly the NFL and MLB. I know the NFL conferences and divisions and was really frustrated that I couldn't come up with the AFC South team. I wasn't expecting THE at all (THE COLTS {38A: A.F.C. South squad}) (bah!). In fact, that entire section of the grid, with GLOMS {25A: Steals, slangily}, LASH {26D: Curling target} and, especially, GOAT {25D: Main ingredient in the curry dish kosha mangsho}, was definitely the toughest for me. I think of GLOM as grabbing onto something or becoming firmly attached to something. I don't recall seeing the clued connotation before, but has "Take, steal" as the first definition, so that's just ignorance on my part.

I also had a great deal of difficulty parsing RITA ORA {37A: British pop star who sang 2012's "R.I.P."}. I mostly know this name from crosswords. 'sAhib' before RABBI {21D: Literally, "my master"}, 'kegS' before ALES {51D: They might be tapped out} and the clue for ADORN {16A: Bedizen} were speed bumps along the way. I thought bedizen might be a COVID-era neologism for people who stay in bed much of the day (i.e. me).

One of my regrets in life is that I was born too early to benefit from NERDS {15D: Certain school clique} becoming cool. I sometimes wonder what it would have been like not to feel like a social misfit in school? Would I look back upon that period of my life with fond nostalgia as my parents and grandparents always did? As it is, I have very few positive memories of those years and it's taken many years of therapy to gain a proper perspective on my adolescence.

A 2:19 PM  

@bocamp, thanks for THE OPERA SOLO by the great Maria Callas! The notes said it was recorded at Recorded at Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Paris, in the 60’s. I noticed a fair number of women in the orchestra, more than I would have expected for the 1960’s. I looked but haven’t yet been able to determine which orchestra this is. Along my search, though, I was reminded that it was there that the infamous premiere of Stravinsky's ballet The Rite of Spring took place.

@Lewis, your puzzle yesterday aimed straight for all the holes in my Swiss cheese brain! I must have hit “check square” 7 times. After it was over I felt like I’d been PELTed by NUNS and run over by my very own SAAB convertible. Thanks for the AP Puzzles lesson -made today’s NYTXC feel so relaxing! Loved your writeup today as well, especially the phrase “vaulted you into my sparse upper echelon of gridmasters.” Couldn’t have said it (better) myself.

@Barbara S, you deserve those laurel leaves - Rex called it medium! And thanks for the Browning - nothing like having your tears licked away by a pup. Wonder what “thought on thought” was bringing her down?

@Anoa Bob, do you count third-person singular verb forms as plurals? As in SNOGS, RAPS, MENDS, YANKS, TARES. It still conforms to your theory that the “S” can be removed. Oh, okay, I just clicked on your link and you answered my question - yes, you include these verbs in your POC count. Left this in for others who are late to the game. Thought of you as I filled in ALES, btw.

Ok, enough stalling - have to go practice for Mozart’s Musical Joke.

Lewis 2:21 PM  

@Frantic -- Thank you, and I'm glad you enjoyed it!

Matt 2:42 PM  

"Arid" does not refer to the presence or absence of H20 in its solid state (i.e., "ice"), but liquid water. Commonly, as well as technically.

But the logical point stands: either it's entirely arid or not at all, not "mostly", given the presence of Martian ice in many places which are not the ice caps.

I know I'm being pedantic, but this is a safe space for that sort of thing, right? If not your fellow crossword nerds, then where?

TwoFlech 2:47 PM  

Cool puzzle. Enjoyed the solve! Thanks Sid.

Randy Miller 2:56 PM  

I've never heard of RITA ORA and having ___AORA in as a person's name made me sure I'd made a mistake somewhere, which had me leaving out ADOBE READER for an embarrassingly long amount of time, considering that I'm employed by the aforementioned company. I've also never heard of "buss" as a synonym for "kiss" so the "busses" -> "snogs" connection wasn't easy for me, I was hung up on clearing tables. Likewise, I've never heard anyone say GLOM to mean "steal", as far as I'm concerned it means latching on to something.

Good challenging puzzle regardless. Love the construction, would've gone a different way with some of the cluing.

newbie 2:56 PM  

I was at a loss early on but wanted that long one to be POTATO BATTERY. Checked two or three answers with Rex and they were correct, which makes it ok in my rulebook. (Actually, anything that gets you through a Saturday puzzle is legit in my rulebook - it’s a learning process.) So I worked on, and on, and on. Had to re-work several answers as the light finally dawned. Eventually rewarded with a completed Saturday puzzle - again! 😎

Love dog poetry @Barbara, and pretty much dog anything. In fact, recently reading A Dog Called Hope about wounded warrior Jason Morgan and his service dog Napal is what eventually made the lightbulb go on, taking me from ADA dental to ADA disabilities act.

Also a big fan of Brother Cadfael @Birchbark - the PBS series introduced me to the books and to Ellis Peters (although the Cadfael books are her best). Some of the few books I can enjoy reading more than once.

Hungry Mother 3:05 PM  

Such a drag dealing with all of the unknown names. Makes PETTY all of the good wordplay.

Hungry Mother 3:12 PM  

Question for constructors: do you have to know the names in advance of building the puzzle, or do you Google them?

TwoFlech 3:13 PM  

Cool puzzle!

bertoray 3:55 PM  

BEDIZEN!?!? Asked like Gene Wilder asks "Sed-i-give!?!?" in Young Frankenstein. I knew it had to be yet couldn't be about some resident of Mattressville, so, unlike @Nancy, I succumbed to temptation and peeked. My sentences shall henceforth be adorned with BEDIZEN.

bocamp 3:56 PM  

@Frantic Sloth 2:05 PM

Yup, wore many hats in my curling experience. And, that could have been yours truly hollering out the encouragement to hurry hard on the brooms, especially if the thrower had missed the "target".

@A (2:19 PM) ~ yw :)

Check here for more program info.


Thx, again, for the Freestyle 587; success! :) BTW, your SB List suggestion has stood me in good stead so many times, today being no exception. I study it each morning before embarking on the puzzle. Ty :)

td 0

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Cassieopia 4:29 PM  

Fairbanks girl here kept wanting "rink" or "ring" or something to do with ice when it came to curling targets. Other than that section, which completely stumped me, the rest of the puzzle put up a fine fight and I enjoyed it very much.

Anonymous 4:30 PM  

NASA says liquid water (I checked because my lower brain stem memory perked up)
"We found the hydrated salts only when the seasonal features were widest, which suggests that either the dark streaks themselves or a process that forms them is the source of the hydration. In either case, the detection of hydrated salts on these slopes means that water plays a vital role in the formation of these streaks,"

"Two years ago, planetary scientists reported the discovery of a large saltwater lake under the ice at Mars’s south pole, a finding that was met with excitement and some scepticism. Now, researchers have confirmed the presence of that lake — and found three more."

so, yeah 'mostly arid'

even Earthly deserts get occasional rain. even the Atacama, site of Bond and the Atacama Cosmology Telescope .

Nancy 4:38 PM  

Mum's the word, everyone, please. And who knows -- maybe Rex will be on safari :)

Masked and Anonymous 4:39 PM  

@Hungry Mother: Well, on that question about whether constructioneers Google all them names…
When M&A constructs, he probably has to check on about half of em. Sometimes becuz I don't know the name at all, and sometimes just to make sure I've got the spellin right.

Sooo … When it comes to "research by the solver" … I've never felt too bad about usin Google to look up an occasional weird name durin a solvequest -- I figure even the constructioneer had to look some of em up. Fair's fair.

M&A Help Desk

Layla 4:57 PM  

Ugh this Rita Ora music. Why why why did I click it? Why why why so people like this sound? Bring back the Who.

Deb Sweeney 7:00 PM  

One of my favorite columns to date, I enjoyed hearing Rex's wrong answers. Drymop, indeed. I checked it mainly to figure out Lash as a target of curling. I was fixated on curling, the sport. Hoo boy.

Crimson Devil 7:44 PM  

Yes, Lewis: many thanks for your your construct. Found it crunchy-enough, but not beyond pedestrian solver such as moi...and for link thereto.
Good work. I continue to be awed by constructors such as thee.

GILL I. 8:10 PM  

@Lewis...I FINALLY got to your Washington Post crossword. BRAVO...1D gave me the smile and the little salivating I needed. Kudos, amigo.

Eniale 9:09 PM  

@flinque 8:55: I was always told I'm being obtuse if I can't figure out an opaque clue.

Lewis 9:11 PM  

@crimson and @gill -- Thank you for your kind words!

Charlie 10:49 PM  

That took all day, between many other things. Snow pea vs snap pea held me back for a long time.

CDilly52 10:59 PM  

Great week!! Such good puzzles and such creativity. Today was the cherry on top of my hot fudge! In spite of the double reference but they tell you nothing clues (or as @Frantic says”loony loos). This was not as easy for me as others and that’s just fine. It’s Saturday!

JBH 6:37 AM  

Um, which parts of Mars AREN’T ‘arid’? 31D Like most of Mars.

Axel 2:44 PM  

The canals (if there are any) are still dry...

thefogman 10:36 AM  

Not bad, but a bit heavy on the PPP. Rex rates it as medium in difficulty which is about right for these days. But if you explore the NYT crossword archive and solve puzzles from the past (15 years ago e.g.) you may find that the puzzles were much more difficult to solve than they are nowadays.

spacecraft 11:13 AM  

A fine, tough Saturday offering. Even with twin gimmes DATA and BRENT, it wasn't easy getting into it. I actually started with ARID/MENDS/METAT. Mars is big enough to hold lots of water and still be mostly ARID on the surface. With all that CO2 in the atmosphere, it seems ripe for terraforming. I'm excited.

After getting HIDDENTALENTS, DISBAR and CABLECAR, I was staring at ____LAL_ for the supermodel. Right away I thought of co-DOD CAROLALT, but thought she was mainly an actress. Was somewhat surprised when she turned out to be the answer. The other one, RITAORA, I did not know, but a post-solve Google fixed that.

I can almost see the constructor wincing as he put in THECOLTS, but what was there to do? (Another reason I'll never join the ranks.) The rest of it was great stuff, with a definite sci-fi mini-theme--right up my alley. Plus, plenty of meat on the bones. Not sure 38a is worth an entire downgrade, so: eagle.

Burma Shave 1:08 PM  


DATA DAY'S in balance, though I'MSUCHAJERK.


rondo 1:27 PM  

Well, BOYS and girls, THERE was a good puz. I finished in the W with the write over of enSURES under the GLOMS area.

Lizzo spent a few years in the Twin Cities after coming from Detroit and then moving on to the West Coast. A certain radio station here still likes to claim her as one of us. Sorry, I just don't see the TALENT. That hollerin' ain't no OPERASOLO. Gimme some STEELY Dan any DAY.

The fully spelled out CAROLALT a definite yeah baby, even with that wandering eye thing. I think she WED a hockey player.

Good puz, no JOKE.

leftcoaster 4:16 PM  

So, are we all happy with the PPP ratio?

Diana, LIW 4:36 PM  

A bunch of trivia I didn't know. fun for me.

Lady Di

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